The Riparo Tagliente archaeological site

Il riparo Tagliente sito archeologico

The prehistoric cave

The cave, which takes its name from Francesco Tagliente, who discovered it in 1958, is today an important archaeological area. The first research was conducted between 1962 and 1964 by the Civic Museum of Natural History of Verona, it was resumed in 1967 by the University of Ferrara and is still ongoing.

The Riparo Tagliente site is located north of Verona, on the right side of the Valpantena which opens into the western offshoots of the Lessini mountains, at an altitude of approximately 250 m above sea level.

The importance of the site derives from two different series of visits, which can be deduced from the discovery of two deposits of overlapping materials from different periods. The first, dating between 60,000 and 30,000 years, is referable to Neanderthal Man, the second, dating between 17,000 and 11,500 years, is referable to Homo Sapiens.

The site also gave birth to the remains of a house and a burial. Most likely the prehistoric men who inhabited the area believed in life after death, as demonstrated by the burial of an adult, placed supine, with his arms stretched out parallel to the trunk, covered in stones. Graffiti are engraved on these stones which almost certainly represent a feline and an aurochs, a large extinct bovine. The discovered skeleton of a 20-year-old man is now exhibited at the Natural History Museum of Verona, but in Valpantena, at the Prehistoric and Paleontological Museum of Sant'Anna d'Alfaedo, the cast of the skeleton and many finds from the Sharp Guard. Furthermore, here archaeologists found the teeth of a Neanderthal man, the jaw of a Homo Sapiens and the phalanx of a young individual.

The men who inhabited the Sharp Shelter mainly hunted herbivores, such as ibex, chamois and deer, but also larger animals such as mammoths, of which fragments of teeth have been found. In addition to hunting, they dedicated themselves to the processing of flint and leather, obtaining rudimentary clothes. They went to obtain useful material for their activity even in distant areas: in fact, sea shells were also recovered, probably coming from the Adriatic, rock crystal and yellow ocher perhaps coming from Ponte Veia. Some bone and stone finds, dated between 13,500 and 11,000 BC. they depict various animals. The most famous are a lion engraved on a block, which was part of a burial and an imposing ibex, engraved on a river pebble.